How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


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L’Anse Amour, NFL.

L’Anse Amour  (near the Quebec border) is the smallest, most northerly community, and the National Historic Site of Canada.

The HMS_Raleigh ran aground here in 1922, a huge embarrassment to the British. The Davis family (a community of seven) took in the 700 men who survived (11 died) though they had no means of housing and feeding such a large number. The sailors salvaged all they could from the ship even the piano. Men slept on the shore (anywhere and everywhere) and some later stayed for a couple months after the British rescue ship arrived. The British Admiralty granted land to the Davis Family, in perpetuity as well as the cove itself, for their selfless deed.

Flash forward to 2012 and the 90-year-old-wreckage.

Only ten Davises live in L’anse Amour now. This is the Davis Family Graveyard.

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Built in 1858, the Point Amour lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada and the second highest in the country. If you’re interested in others or their histories, click here.

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The lighthouse has a gift shop on the first floor (of course). The furniture on this floor had been removed to make room for the displays / models  and to accommodate busloads of tourists passing through.

The furnishings of the day as well as sample clothing were displayed on the second floor. This main building had no bathroom facilities though the demand was high. Anyone wanting to use them had to walk a good distance in a blustery wind to another building away from the main attraction.

Below, a model of the lighthouse:

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The stairway to the top  wasn’t what I’d expected. A guide led small groups at a time, but how had they fit? Mary and I were last—just us three. The stairs weren’t what I had expected either. They were steep, did not snake, but were vertical and had six landings. The last two levels were ladders, not stairs as the space had gradually became smaller and narrower as we worked our way to the top. Why? I had not thought to ask, but I wonder if it had to do with the lighthouse platform (with the saving light) and the space for it. Cannot find the answer.

Shedding light on a landing in this dark tower along the way up.

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The last couple sets of ladder rungs were so tight (and vertical), no way could I turn around if I had to. Legs quaking, we huffed and puffed our way to the top: 132 steps and 109 feet up. What a view! (I had to scrap a number of pictures, which reflected the photographer in the glass).

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More images of L’Anse Amour

* * *

Next on February 19th: About Whales and Fishing and Fish Oil, Oh My! (day 4 continued)

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page.


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#BlogBattle Week 48 – Prompt: Chasm

To join us and / or to meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:  

  1. 1000 wordsmax
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content– let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.

**********************************************************************

Part 1 here

Part 2 here

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Image  from Pixabay. No attribution necessary.

Along Came Polly – Part 3

“What is that awful noise? ‘There birds in here?” Raising her bird’s nest bedhead, Grace unglued a puffy eye. “Wha…?“

Frrrrrr frrrrrr frrrrrr frrrrrr.

Blinding light suffused the room. She rolled over, face pushed into the pillow.

“Never known you to sleep this late. Everything okay, baby sister? Here. Brought you coffee.” She plunked a mug on the night table and dropped into the tub chair alongside, already fully dressed in Khaki pants and white blouse. “Polly, talk to me.” She sipped her coffee.

Her sister rolled over; grabbed her glasses. Squinting at Grace, her fingers fumbled for the coffee. “Why’s it so darn bright?” Grasping the pillows, she swooshed them against the headboard, and scooted back, leaned in and sighed. “Thanks for the coffee.”

“It’s past nine—you didn’t answer my question.” Grace lifted her mug. “You look like something the cat threw up.”

“Says you. Truth is I didn’t sleep well, at-all, at-all, at-all.” She slapped a hand to her mouth to stifle a yawn. I fell as if into a chasm at the first hint of day.

“Oh? Do tell.” Grace’s eyes wandered to the window as if she could care less, ever watchful from the corner of an eye.

“Tommy called last night. I didn’t pick up.” Polly turned her cup round and round studying its contents as if reading tea leaves. “Terrific coffee, sis. You’re looking perky. You had me worried last night.”

“Uh-huh. This is news? Boohoo for Tommy. What’s really eating you? Don’t bother fibbing ‘cause you can’t fool me, like you think you’re doing.”

“Duh.” Polly made a face. “Better get up if I want more coffee.”

“Cut the crap already, what did you get into when I went to bed?”

“Nothing.” Hazel eyes innocent and enormous, she bowed to her coffee.

“We’re sisters, but you are trying my patience.”

“You heard any rumours about family secrets—being the older first child—you know?”

Grace’s mouth dropped. “What are you talking about?” Forehead furrowed, she swung her head around like a puppet, blinking, scanning the files in her head. “This isn’t like you. What’s going on? Is Tommy blackmailing you into marrying him?”

Polly snorted, coffee splattered over the lily-white bedcoverings. “Sorry-sorry-sorry.” She bounced out of bed hauling off the stained candlewick bedspread and top sheet. “Forget Tommy. He’s not news.”

Grace grabbed the bottom of the heavy spread. “Laundry tub, downstairs, I think. I’ll start the soap and water. Bring the vinegar?”

“Here. What do you know about granddad and Uncle John?” Polly swished the soapy water while her sister added the vinegar.

“What an odd question. I have no idea what you mean.”

“Uncle John was not to be trusted. Dad worked his fingers to the bone in Grandpa’s business.”

“Oh yeah? What if you’re wrong? How about breakfast. I’m starving. ”

Polly watched her sister through lowered lashes. “Wrong? I don’t understand. Dad was the good son. Worked and slaved—he saved Granddad’s grocery store from ruin. Uncle John was the black sheep. Everyone said so.”

“Or scapegoat. Help me lift this in the tub.”

“What?”

“Let’s play what if. Coming?”

“What if what?”

“Both Dad and Uncle John worked for Grandad, right? What if Dad had a gambling problem?”

“What? No way.”

“What if he had sticky fingers and helped himself to the till and the store check book.”

“I don’t believe you. Is that why—?”

“Why, what? You want eggs or oatmeal? Why, what?”

“Nothing. Eggs. You too? Great. I’ll do the eggs.” Polly opened the fridge.

“Back in a shake. Have to rinse the bedspread.”

“I’ll do it. It was my fault.”

“Thought you’re doing the eggs? Get cracking. When I return, I’ll expect answers. Tut tut.”

* * *

“Grandma’s spread is good as new. It’s in the washing machine now. You still look like last week’s leftovers. Why couldn’t you sleep and why all the questions? Good. I’m starving. Let’s eat.”

“Coffee?” Polly grabbed the pot and poured two cups. “Going to the attic today?”

“Tut tut. Come on. Clean slate. What’s on your mind?”

Her mouth full, the younger woman chewed and chewed. And chewed. Eyes growing by the minute, she swallowed hard. “I found something in one of the boxes last night.”

Eyes narrowed, Grace clutched the mug to her chest, still as a statue. “What?” Her voice gruff, she cleared her throat.

“It’s better I show you. Be right back.”

Lost in thought, Grace jumped at her sister’s reappearance. Polly thrust the paper under her nose. Studying her sister’s impassive face, she dropped into her chair. Arms around her torso, she rocked in place. The air sizzled with tension. Grace fanned herself with the birth certificate. The women stared at each other.

“Anything else in the box you found this?”

Polly blew out a breath. Her body sagged. The words spilled out in a tumble. “Know anything about this?” She gripped her fingers till the knuckles turned white.

Grandpa handed over the business banking to Uncle John when dad’s bad habits surfaced. The checks to cash were for his gambling debts. He paid them off in person, in cash. Uncle John didn’t want a paper trail.

“And the birth certificate? Why was brother Frank a secret?” Her voice, though a whisper, cracked.

Grace exhaled loud and long. “Mom couldn’t kick dad out, but she’d had it with him. He up and disappeared one day. Frankie was born a year before you, but he wasn’t right…died. You came seven years later.

“Before dad left—“

“No. Grandpa lived to see Frankie. Not grandma. It would have broken her heart. Everybody’s gone now. I’m glad I’m moving into a gated retirement community. Too many ghosts here. You should come.”

Polly shook her head, hand up open-palmed. “I don’t understand, then who…? Not Uncle John, of course, because he was…

“I guess he wasn’t.”

“He’s my fa…?”

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


63 Comments

Ferry to Labrador

Luggage outside the door and breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Leave hotel at 9:00 to catch the ferry 30 minutes later.

Silly me. After breakfast, I told sister Mary we needn’t rush as bus boarding wasn’t until 9:30. At 9:01, the hotel phone rang. Everyone was on the bus. Waiting. What? We rushed out and I kept apologizing. Some eye-rolling commenced, but everyone seemed good-natured about it. I cast my eyes to the floor, praying for it to open and swallow me whole.

To give us all a different perspective from the bus, Francis moved our seating two rows forward each day. The wife of one couple, sitting across the aisle, began a tirade that the practice had stopped. She was wrong, and this was only day four. My first mistake was not ignoring her. I was reading after all. The second one was nodding (though non-committal), hoping the conversation was over. I turned back to my book. She called the guide, who explained he did move names every day, but she didn’t understand. He stayed calm and finally walked back to his seat.

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We arrived at the ferry in good time to board, bus and all. A hatch like a car hood yawned open and Shawn drove us inside. The holding area was already half-filled with vehicles. Francis led us up three flights to a wide, empty center, large enough for a big dance party. Facing the huge expanse of windows, bar-type tables and chairs hugged the perimeter

For health and safety reasons, an announcement came over the intercom advising the location of rafts and life jackets. I didn’t understand the rushed message. Deep water and the talk about it gave me the chills. The engines hummed. They became louder. We watched the door through which the vehicles had entered, descend and close like jaws on a shark.  I felt the ferry floor vibrate beneath my feet. We crossed from Newfoundland to Labrador across the Strait_of_Belle_Isle. The distance is only about nine or ten miles, but the ferry doesn’t travel in a straight line. The crossing took about an hour and can take up to ninety minutes.

Someone heard about a school of dolphins and fish. We raced to the poop deck, but all we accomplished was a sharp slap of freezing wind in the face when I opened the door. Also no whales. This tour had been added after the close of the tour season because the travel company had such an overflow of tourists interested in making this trip. No whales. No puffins and no lobsters. All gone. Moved off. We’d come too late to Newfoundland.

Upon arrival, our group was called to gather by the Information Desk for disembarking. The stairs were narrow and a fellow passenger with a cane in front of us tried hurrying. Mary warned him to take his time. I was shocked to see cars parked with a hair’s breadth between them. It didn’t take long for the cars in front of our bus to drive off and allow our exit. There wasn’t room to slide a sheet of paper between our bus and the car beside and in front of it. Shawn inched the bus back to open the passenger door. He barely squeezed inside himself.

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WE arrived on a strip of Quebec and drove through L’Anse aux Clair (cove of life), the road traffic moved at a crawl. Here you can change your watch back to Newfoundland from Quebec time. Fog rolled off the St. Lawrence, thick and soupy.

Today’s Chuckle:

A taxi driver picked up a nun. She noticed him watching in the rearview mirror after she got into the back seat. “Is something bothering you, my son?”

“I’m sorry, Sister. I’d rather not say.”

“Go on. I may be a nun, but I’ve heard a lot of things in my time.”

“I’ve had this fantasy, Sister, my whole life, of kissing a nun.”

“That’s alright, son. I can oblige, but I have two conditions. You must be Catholic and unmarried.

“I’m both of those, Sister.”

“Pull in there son.” She pointed to an alley.

Ten minutes later, they came out. The nun noticed the driver crying. “What is it, my son?”

“I lied, sister. I’m not Catholic; I’m Jewish and I’m married.”

“That’s alright, my son. I’m Kevin, and I’m going to a Halloween party.”

Next on February 12th: L’Anse Amour

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page.

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New Featured Sunrise Header for February 2016

Elizabeth honors me by featuring a sunrise on her blog for the month of February, which I took recently. Yeah, me. It looks better than I remember. Thank YOU.

Before Sundown

 

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Sunrise by Teresa Karlinski

HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

An irreverent view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com

Teresa Karlinski “Tess” is a single grandma to two little girls.  Her philosophy about life “ I just want to keep on rocking (I don’t mean the chair, I mean TO the MUSIC!)”

There’s an empty rocking chair on her front porch!

Image 2-2-16 at 10.15 AM

You Rock On, Tess!

Untitled.png You Rock

Untitled.png Tess

In fact, she’s quite the Rock On Traveler! You’ll want to visit her blog site to see the places she’s gone. It’s apropos that the Header Sunrise was taken from a plane window! Tess did incredible sequential sunrise shots while going back to Toronto in January 2016 from Vancouver to Calgary.

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Sunset 2014 Niagara on the Lake (Ontario)

Sunset 2014 Niagara copy

Tess also says that she wants to “s-q-u-e-e-z-e” out as much living as she can! And she’d like all blog visitors to join her! Since she…

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#BlogBattle Week 47 – Prompt: Forest

To join in the fun and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:  

  1. 1000 wordsmax
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainmentvalue!
  6. State the Genre of your storyat the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/orinclude a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.

**********************************************************************

chest-371386_960_720 Pixabay

Image  from Pixabay. No attribution necessary.

Along Came Polly – Part 2

Part 1 here

Grace’s eyes swept the attic one last time. Enough for one day. Her sister grumbled, teetering on the ladder, an arm hugging a box and the other white-knuckling the beam.

“You okay, baby sister? What’s the matter? Out of shape?”  She stooped near the top of the folding ladder with a chuckle. Forehead glistening, Polly glared back, face a blistering red. “Going to live to your 60th birthday?” She shrieked with laughter till she choked with a coughing fit.

Polly stumbled to the floor below and released her box. Thump. Folded at the waist, she gasped for air, knees clutched as she heaved. “Make way. Coming down.” Grace sing-songed in a cheerful voice. The ladder quivered and creaked beneath her weight. Her sister already halfway to the kitchen, booted the box down the hall. A tap gushed water. A cupboard door slammed. Arms around her box, Grace peered around the corner. Her sister gulped water as if it might be her last chance to drink. She grinned and whacked the wall with the flat of her hand. Polly spun round, the glass grasped tight, eyes huge behind tiny granny glasses.

“Something in the dust you ate? Settle down, Grace. Aren’t you thirsty and tuckered out?” She grabbed another glass, filled it with water and handed it to her sister, who glugged it too. Simultaneously, the women dropped into chairs eyes locked on each other. Polly broke the stare first. Slamming her glass on the table, she giggled like a school girl. “You should see your face.” Yanking the kerchief off her head, she wiped her forehead. “I’m all sticky. Mind if I take a shower first?”

“Go. Where’s the day gone? I’ll rustle up something to eat. What do you feel like?”

“Surprise me.” Polly, rescued overnight bag in her hand, had made her way half-way to the bathroom, her voice faint.

* * *

 “How many boxes do you suppose there are?” Polly settled on the floor in front of the sofa, slicing the air with her mug. “A couple dozen?” Tucking the fluffy white robe from her sister’s guestroom around her knees, her chin pointed at the ceiling.

Eyes glazed, Grace shrugged in her pink velvet robe and stifled a yawn.

“Did you see the trunk buried beneath the boxes? I’m anxious to peek inside first thing tomorrow. What if it’s locked?”

“We’ll find a way.”

“Grace, are you all right? Too much, too soon? You haven’t had time to recuperate after the flu. Off to bed with you.” Led by the arm, her sister toddled down the hall to her room. “Sleep as long as you like. Don’t you dare get out of bed till you smell the morning coffee.” Polly pulled back the covers and padded the mattress. “First, hugs.”

The boxes in the living-room had lost their appeal. Plunked on the carpet like discarded presents, Polly eyed them with trepidation, but only for a moment. Ignoring her cooling coffee, she tore the top off the nearest box, her curiosity overpowering. Envelopes of bills and receipts bound with disintegrating elastic bands filled the box to the brim. Mouth pinched, she removed layer upon layer of envelopes. Disintegrating rubber crumbled in her hands and onto the gray carpet. On the bottom lay a large record book. She flipped through the pages, stopped and blinked. Wait a minute. What is Uncle John’s signature doing on the checks? The bills were in her grandfather’s name. Some checks were for five hundred and one for a thousand dollars made out to cash. Strange. Why cash and why such large amounts with Uncle John’s signature?

A page floated into her lap, less yellowed than the book pages. Light-headed as if floating in a dream, Polly dropped the book and unfolded the paper, heart clenched like a fist. Unable to focus on the writing, she closed her eyes. Why am I so nervous? This has nothing to do with me. Her head hurt as if gripped in a vice. She peered at the writing. A birth certificate? Still the words swam in a murky fog. She gripped the sheet and brought it to her nose. Too close. Back again, the words became clearer, sharper. Polly dropped the paper as if her hands burned and stared into space. Not possible. She covered her face, rocking against the foot of the sofa.  No. No. No.

Her cell chirped in her handbag on the sofa cushions. Not wanting to talk to anyone, she ignored the phone, but as always her curiosity won. She dug the cell out of her purse.  Tommy. Why didn’t he give up? How many times did she need to explain she liked her singlehood? Re-marrying was not in her future. She chucked the phone to the cushions concerned with more important matters.

This must be some kind of mistake. She planned to do a birth record search online, but not tonight, though tempted. This latest development had sucked the life out of her. Not confident she would sleep, Polly threw the paraphernalia back into the box anyway, shut off the lights, and tiptoed to the guestroom, the unsettling evidence clasped to her chest. She stopped at her sister’s door, her ear to sleeping mumbles. A chilling thought struck her. Sometimes, a forest of trees hides what you’ve always known or thought you had.  

To be continued

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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Grenville Centre and St. Anthony’s

I welcomed thoughts of lunch after traipsing through muddy fields and over long boardwalks at L’Anse aux Meadows. A welcome relief, the drizzle stopped. Our designated stop: The Norsemen Restaurant. Hardly a surprise after I spied this tall fellow across the road:

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Lunch arrived almost as soon as we settled at our tables: soup, a shrimp wrap, and coffee, which cooled before I had an opportunity to drink it.  I noticed Francis, our guide didn’t have the chowder, nor the shrimp wrap, as did the majority of the tour group. Maybe he has a cholesterol situation?

Actor who portrayed a Viking and who played at lunch:

Wade, the Viking at L’Anse aux Meadow must have rushed cleaning up, changing and driving to the restaurant. Accompanying himself with a guitar, and sometimes the squeeze box, he entertained us with rousing Newfoundland songs. I enjoyed his voice and found him agreeable to look at as well. He sold CDs of his songs and stayed during his lunch hour, but had to rush off again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rmfibS-sXk

Credit: montane

While visiting the gift shop at the back of the restaurant after lunch, a glass cabinet slid off the pegs and the glass shelf crashed. It sounded like an explosion. No one even stood within close proximity of the display case when it happened. A staff member decided the cause had been from vibration on the floor from all the visitors passing by in the narrow hallway. We were the only busload of tourists there.

A female neighbor who lived close to the restaurant rushed over to ask from where we had come. She wasn’t shy to say she made a habit of visiting when a bus arrived. We talked for a few minutes. She knotted the bottom of her shirt, a wistful gesture if I ever saw one.

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I didn’t feel quite satisfied after the small lunch, but the bus waited and we were on our way again to St. Anthony to visit the Wilfred Grenfell Museum, which used to be home to Dr.Grenville and his family.

I wonder how Victo Dolores at https://doctorly.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/bend-over/  might like this doctor. A good old-fashioned one?

Newfoundland Time  is one and a half hours ahead of Ontario and Quebec. Newfoundland used to be their own country, but when they joined Canada, they decided not to change to Standard time.

Like the random gardens we passed earlier, I noted lots of chopped, stacked wood along the roadside whether there were houses in the vicinity or not.

Unlike where we live in Ontario, the small grocery store we passed was closed Sundays. Gas stations were open and offered snacks, souvenirs, tees and wine. In Corner Brook when we asked a resident where to buy wine, she’d said only the liquor store. ”You can but all the beer you want at the gas station, but no wine,” she said. Hmm. I scratched my head. Do the rules change from town to town?

The red light problem on the bus from the previous day had been corrected. The company responsible for servicing the bus rebooted the computer, which runs the electronics. Everything is ship-shape now.

Smile for the day:

How can you pick out a Newfoundlander in heaven? He’s the one who wants to go home.

* * *

Next on February 5th: Labrador by Ferry

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page.  


68 Comments

#BlogBattle Week 46 – Prompt: Indian

To join  and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:  

  1. 1000 wordsmax
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainmentvalue!
  6. State the Genre of your storyat the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.

**********************************************************************

Attic Window Pixabay

Along Came Polly

Grace rolled up her sleeves. Where to start? The attic had twenty years of dust hugging every surface. The deep footprints she made reminded her of an old horror movie with no idea which one. She knotted a kerchief over short, auburn hair. Even this slight movement stirred a cloud of fine powder. A roaring sneeze shattered the spooky silence. Eyes stinging from the force of the unexpected eruption, she covered her face. No point putting off the inevitable anymore. She’d put the job off for weeks already. Moving day loomed large. So much to do in six short weeks. Grace uncovered her face and sneezed again. “Maybe I should vacuum first.”

The Kirby, too heavy to lug up and down the ladder, she loaded the old canister model into an orange plastic leaf bag, heaved it over her shoulder and mounted the ladder again. Good idea, but was there a plug? The low-watt, naked bulb hanging on a cord wasn’t much help. She scrambled down the rungs again for a better bulb and flashlight.

No matter how careful, she stirred gagging clouds in her path. The bulb, too hot to change, Grace flicked on the flashlight and ground her teeth. More slow work. Feathery cobwebs clung in clumps in the corners, undulating as she passed the light in columns over the wall surface. No plug on the first wall, nor the second. She stamped her foot, realizing too late what she’d done, and choked on particles of stirred up dirt, again. Shoulders slumped she wanted to give up. “Work with me,” she said with clenched teeth to the watching shadows. A distant sound from downstairs caught her attention. Head cocked she froze to listen. The muffled dong of her doorbell called to her. “I’m coming,” she said aloud though no one heard and grinned to herself. A reprieve. Down the ladder, she plunged fast as her throbbing legs carried her.

“I’m coming.” She wrenched open the door. “Polly—what a surprise. Come in. Come in.” Her sister, a fuchsia overnight bag at her feet, smiled wide, and threw open her arms. Grace blinked, chin tucked over her sister’s shoulder. “Your timing couldn’t be better. I finally made it to the attic but haven’t accomplished a thing today.”

“Isn’t that the reason you invited me?”

Grace stood back. Squinting, she studied the face before her. “I did? When?”

“A month or so—I think. I wondered what you’d find after all these years… If my missing diary might be in one of the boxes.”

Grace chuckled. The back of her hand erased the frown lines from her forehead. “I remember. Funny, I finally made it up there the day you decide to come. How long can you stay?”

Polly clutched her purse and luggage. “As long as you like. Phew. You smell like dust and mouse droppings. Tea first.” She dropped the small bag by the closet door and kicked off her sneakers. “Traffic was brutal. Seems the whole world is either going to the beach, cottage, or a driving vacation.” She swooped down the hall to the kitchen as if she lived there. “Supposed to be high eighties by the weekend.”

Grace already had cups out and the kettle on. The kitchen smelled like a bakery. A batch of cranberry bran muffins cooled on the counter from earlier that morning. “Guess we better put a dent into the junk upstairs before the heat hits. Muffin?”

“How’s it up there today?” Polly ran a hand through her mud-brown hair. “Like the cut?” She turned her head this way and that.

“Lovely.” Grace reached over to stroke the springy curls. “Dark and dusty. I found a plug up there for the vacuum. Hope it works.”

* * *

The plug worked fine. The women vacuumed and wiped down every surface with a dampened cloth. Polly wasted no time digging around inside boxes. “Why don’t we take some of the more interesting ones downstairs to poke through at our leisure?”

They worked in silence, the howl of the vacuum between them. Polly whooped over the noise. Grace switched off the power. “What?” Her eyes grew enormous.

Polly approached her sister. In each hand, she clutched two golf ball-size balls, all striped red, white and blue. “Remember these? Indian rubber, right? How many could you juggle? Three—no—four at a time.”

“Four. I must have been about nine? You wanted to sell tickets for a show starring yours truly. Already a wheeler-dealer at six.” A faraway look in her eye, Grace grabbed two balls, tossed one to the floor and snatched it as it sprang past her shoulder.

“Wheeler-dealer me. I wonder could you still do it?”

Grace shrugged. “Tennis balls were better for juggling off a wall, though. These babies kept punching me in the face until I acquired the proper feel for them.”

Polly giggled. “Remember the night Mom thought you’d been in a fight when you showed up with a black eye? She didn’t believe you blinked and slam!”

“It hurt like… Hey we’re done here.” Grace dropped their find into her apron pocket. “Pick a box. I’m curious what we’ll find—maybe even lovesick Polly’s teenage diary. Come on.”

The End

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

 

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